NET WORTH: $400 million (estimated)
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Quark Software
FUNDING AREAS: LGBT Rights
OVERVIEW: Tim Gill's philanthropy focuses on LGBT rights, and he's been a leading funder and advocate in this space. In 1992, Gill began to speak out publicly as a gay man when Colorado voters passed Amendment 2, which banned laws designed to protect LGBT people from discrimination. In 1994, he established the Gill Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to advancing equality by supporting nonprofit organizations that serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied individuals, as well as people with HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, the Gill Foundation has invested more than $277 million in programs and nonprofit organizations throughout the country. Gill has also been an active political donor through the Gill Action Fund.
BACKGROUND: Tim Gill was born in Indiana and got hooked on computers when his high school acquired its first computer. Instead of following in his father's footsteps as a physician, as he had originally planned, he majored in applied mathematics and computer science at the University of Colorado. After working in the tech world, in 1981, Gill borrowed $2,000 from his parents and started Quark, and the company became a leading developer of page layout software.
LGBT RIGHTS: Gill is perhaps the most important LGBT philanthropist of recent times. He started the Denver, Colorado-based Gill Foundation in 1994. The foundation is dedicated to advancing equality by supporting nonprofit organizations that serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied individuals, as well as people with HIV/AIDS. Recently, the foundation has shifted its strategy a bit, moving away from a heavy focus on marriage equality to ending discrimination against LGBT people in all areas of their lives—from housing to employment to public accommodations. The foundation lists four priority areas: "equal treatment," "family recognition," "safe schools," and a "prosperous Colorado."
Gill also belongs to the State Equality Fund, a collaboration of LGBT funders including the Ford Foundation. The State Equality Fund operates as a donor-advised fund of Tides Foundation, but is programmatically staffed on behalf of its donors by the Gill Foundation. Since 2007, the State Equality Fund has granted more than $16 million to advance LGBT equality at the state level.
As well, Gill is part of the Civil Marriage Collaborative, a grantmaking initiative designed to strengthen and build a state-by-state movement for the freedom to marry for same-gender couples in the United States. Gill has also supported outfits like Moving Colorado Forward, Coalition for a Better Colorado, and Citizens for Colorado.
OTHER: Gill has provided financial support to numerous organizations that serve the general public, including nearly $1 million to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief. He's also long supported local public radio and television through program underwriting. In a recent year, the Gill Foundation’s Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado gave $50,000 to the United Ways of Colorado Flood Recovery Fund. Gill has also funded National Jewish Health.
LOOKING AHEAD: Expect Gill's emphasis on LGBT rights to hold, but the foundation has shifted gears in the past as this fight has evolved, and that's likely to continue.